Why Your Whirlpool Dishwasher Stinks (And How to Clean It)

If you own a Whirlpool dishwasher, you know how convenient and efficient it is to wash your dishes. But did you know that your dishwasher also needs regular cleaning to keep it in top shape? Cleaning your Whirlpool dishwasher can help prevent odors, clogs, and poor performance. It can also extend the life of your appliance and save you money on repairs.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to clean a Whirlpool dishwasher in three easy steps. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions and share some tips and tricks to make your dishwasher sparkle.

How To Clean Whirlpool Dishwashers

Step 1: Clean the filter

The filter is located at the bottom of your dishwasher, under the lower rack. It helps trap food particles and debris that might otherwise clog the spray arms or the drain.

To clean the filter, you’ll need to remove the lower rack and then follow these instructions:

  • Twist the upper filter assembly a quarter turn counterclockwise and lift it out.
  • Gently pull the lower filter out of the dishwasher tub.
  • Rinse both filters under running water and use a soft brush or sponge to remove any stuck-on food or mineral deposits. Do not use a wire brush or scouring pad as they might damage the filter.
  • Return the lower filter to its place and make sure it fits properly under the tabs.
  • Align the upper filter with the opening on the lower filter and twist it clockwise until it locks into place. If it still turns freely, it’s not seated correctly.
whirlpool dishwasher owner's manual cleaning instructions
someone rinsing off a fork, how to clean whirlpool dishwasher

Step 2: Clean the interior

The interior of your dishwasher can get dirty from hard water, detergent, grease, and food residue. To clean it, you can use either a commercial dishwasher cleaner or a natural solution of vinegar and baking soda.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Remove any dishes or utensils from the dishwasher.
  • If using a commercial cleaner, follow the instructions on the package and place one tablet in the detergent dispenser and another at the bottom of the tub.
  • If using vinegar and baking soda*, pour two cups of white vinegar into a glass or dishwasher-safe container and place it upright on the lower rack. Then sprinkle one cup of baking soda along the bottom of the tub. *Baking soda is optional.
  • Run a normal cycle with the heat dry option turned off. Do not use any detergent.
  • Once the cycle is complete, wipe down the interior walls, door, and gasket with a damp cloth or sponge.

You should clean the interior of your dishwasher every 30 days or whenever you notice a bad odor or film.

Step 3: Clean the exterior

The exterior of your dishwasher can also get dirty from fingerprints, spills, and dust. To clean it, you’ll need a mild detergent and a soft cloth or sponge.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Wipe down the control panel, handle, and door with a damp cloth or sponge and a mild detergent. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or steel wool as they might scratch the surface.
  • Rinse with a clean cloth or sponge and dry with a soft towel.
  • Polish any stainless steel parts with a stainless steel cleaner or a microfiber cloth.

You should clean the exterior of your dishwasher as needed to keep it looking shiny and new.

Whirpool Dishwasher Cleaning Tips

Pro-tip: While the instructions we provided are generally applicable, there may be variations among different Whirlpool dishwasher models. So, just make sure to double check!

Safety tip: Depending on how thorough of a deep cleaning you plan to do, you may want to make sure the dishwasher is off and unplugged

Favorite Dishwasher Cleaner: Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner

It has a unique formula that dissolves limescale and removes odors from your dishwasher. It is easy to use, compatible with all dishwashers, and approved by the EPA Safer Choice program. It also cleans the internal components of your dishwasher, such as the spray arms and hoses.

FAQs: Cleaning Your Whirlpool Dishwasher

How often should I clean my Whirlpool dishwasher?

The frequency of cleaning depends on how often you use your dishwasher and how hard your water is. As a general rule, you should clean the filter every month, the interior every 30 days, and the exterior as needed.

What are some signs that my Whirlpool dishwasher needs cleaning?

Some signs that your dishwasher needs cleaning are:

  • Bad odors
  • Poor cleaning results
  • Dishes not drying properly
  • White spots or film on dishes or glassware
  • Food particles or debris in the tub or spray arms
  • Clogs or leaks

What are some tips and tricks to keep my Whirlpool dishwasher clean?

Here are some tips and tricks to keep your dishwasher clean:

  • Scrape off large food particles from dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
  • Run hot water in the sink before starting the dishwasher to ensure optimal water temperature.
  • Use the right amount and type of detergent for your water hardness and load size.
  • Avoid overloading or underloading the dishwasher as this can affect its performance.
  • Run a rinse cycle after each use to prevent food from drying on dishes or in the tub.
  • Leave the door slightly open after each cycle to allow air circulation and prevent mold growth.


Cleaning your Whirlpool dishwasher is not only easy but also beneficial for your appliance and your dishes. By following these simple steps, you can keep your dishwasher running smoothly and efficiently for years to come. You can also enjoy a fresh and hygienic kitchen environment and avoid any health or safety issues.

We hope this guide has helped you learn how to clean a Whirlpool dishwasher. And don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family who might find it useful. Follow us on Pinterest for more cleaning tips and tricks!

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